The Sacrificial Ram

By Raffique Shah
March 29, 2014

Raffique ShahGlenn ‘Hamper Man’ Ramadharsingh is one shell-shocked politician. As the poster boy for performance in the People’s Partnership Government, he cannot understand why the Prime Minister fired him for a relatively trivial sin, when he (and she) sees and knows of other ministers who have committed far graver offences, seven and eight-digit crimes, and they remain riding tall in the saddle.

Really, even I feel sorry for Ram—and my heart is like stone when it comes to politicians, murderers and child rapists. Here is a young man who defined new politics, Partnership-style, in the most definitive way, the distribution of hampers.

In fact, Ram re-invented hampers. In my near seven decades on this earth, I’ve never seen such an array of hampers, not live, not on cable television, not on the Internet, nowhere. Ram created hampers in brown grocery bags, hampers in cane baskets, hampers wrapped in colourful gift paper, hampers in cardboard boxes…I can go on and on.

When the Government boasts of innovation, that is innovation!

As for performance, no other minister could beat the Hamper Man. Floodwaters raging, people’s houses swimming in silt, they crying rivers of tears, and Ram shows up complete in galoshes, bearing hampers. A house in wah-hi-o-ho reduced to ashes by fire, its occupants wondering where the next meal coming from: enter Ram bearing breakfast, maybe even a few ‘breakfasses’.

Hampers for Christmas, hampers for Holi, hampers for Eid, hampers for any and every occasion. Hell, he even customised hampers for the Prime Minister (ingrate!) to share like a year-round Santa Claus, her image etched on coffee mugs, T-shirts, washrags, toilet paper.

This guy breathed life into the new Ministry of the People, which was itself a creation of the Partnership when it came into office in 2010. Before that, the world assumed that all democratically elected governments, and even some dictatorships, were ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’.

Not so, the PM said. She wanted a minister with a full ministry to focus on the people while the other Cabinet members presumably focussed on themselves, their families and friends. So Ram broke new ground in many ways. He went about his job with unmatched passion and was so successful, when she relieved him of it, the PM didn’t assign that ministry to anyone else. She kept it for herself.

So we return to the original question: why did she fire Ram?

It could not be because he went somewhat overboard while onboard a CAL flight from Tobago to Trinidad. Many other ministers and party hacks committed sins ‘wuss than that’. In his day, Jack Warner chalked up a rap sheet so long, it stretched from Trinidad to Geneva to Qatar and back—and he was not fired. He resigned when he chose to. Other ministers have been implicated in a range of indiscretions and alleged corrupt acts: they have not even been investigated, far less disciplined or censured.

So why punish “Hamper Man”?

The answer lies in realpolitik, a term that might not be familiar to Ram or the PM, but one that applies neatly in this instance.

Realpolitik is politics based on practical considerations rather than moral or ideological principles. Some call it pragmatism, although that does not quite capture its full meaning. Although it’s of earlier vintage, realpolitik came of age before and during the Second World War, and later, during the Cold War.

We who studied the history of, or lived during, these epochal eras, understand the term.

In this instance, whatever her public utterances to the contrary, the PM is acutely aware that her political stocks are at an all time low. With general elections due by mid-2015, she has little time to refurbish the shine she wore in 2010, the aura that captivated the nation.

She cannot rely on her frontline ministers for help. Few among them command respect. Most, sensing that they will not control the Treasury after the elections. While some of her pet projects are well underway, but they will hardly be completed before the day of reckoning.

So Kamla can rely only on Kamla if she hopes to retain power. She must, therefore, carve the image of being a strong, no-nonsense leader who has had the fortitude to fire even her best ministers, should they be perceived by the public as having committed serious sins.

Enter Ram in a moment of stupor, throwing his ministerial weight around, and worse for him (but better for her), admitting he had done wrong and apologising for his misdemeanours.

Exit Ram in a moment of triumph for the PM: Watch me! See me dispose of one of my best! Ah strong! Ah ready for (Keith) Rowley!

Hamper Man is a sacrificial ram without even knowing it. And others will follow if they become baggage between now and the elections. The PM has nothing to lose by firing many of the seedless raisins who now occupy the front bench.

They are nothing without her. She is still the boss without them.

Poor Ram, sacrificed to Ogun, almost like a human hamper, on the eve of Spiritual Shouter Baptist Day.

14 thoughts on “The Sacrificial Ram”

  1. “To err is human;to forgive is divine” The deposed Minister offered the quotation together with an apology to demonstrate his sincerity for his mistake.Madam Prime Minister (KPB)(sil vous plait)as a gesture of “goodwill” reinstate Glenn Ramadharsingh.”Let your conscience be your guide”

    This act of forgiveness will bolster your popularity.Not only for political plaudits but also to enlighten the populace of your ability to “tolerate” indiscretions.”The time has come said the walrus;to speak of many things” Almost everyone has made an “error in judgement”

  2. Our world of “zero-tolerance” lacks all notion of a second-chance, whereas Trailblazers are yet to be measured by any yardstick.

    1. “Zero tolerance?” Permit me to draw your attention to “one of the icons of the ages”…God rest the soul of Nelson Mandela; who spent twenty-seven (almost a generation) years in prison. Although the circumstances are “different” he (Madiba) forgave his persecutors.

  3. Ah tell you,..If hypocrisy was a sin, many of you delusional ,White sky god freaks , would sure burn in hell!
    Yeah Swordfish, forgive and forget ,but the bastard ,could not forgive his much younger wife , Winnie Mandela,and mom of his kids, who help him as he rose to prominance, and carried the revolutionary torch , in strident fashion , as he served time in prison, at the hands of White Apartheid, genocidal savages.
    Do you know the self serving fraud , for all of his global accolades, did not leave a penny in his will for that woman?
    Some claimed he was still angry that after maybe 2 decades of lonely struggles, she allowed herself to be comforted by another male.
    While we are on the subject of forgive ,another case for consideration. Once the trial is completed , against the barbarian animals , who murdered Sister Naipaul-in gruesome fashion one might add-of Extra food fame, we will ask not only the State to forgive them, but her bereave family members.
    How about immediate freedom, with only time served during the trial , as their sole punishment.?
    How about those Caroni workers, who lost their savings, and pension at the HCU ,due to the crooked activities, of that White Color bandit, Harry Hatinarine, and then Dupre ,your Papa Basdeo Panday, CLICO destroyer pal?
    Let me guess , forgive them too, for raping , and plunder of those two noble ,financial institutions, huh?
    What’s that I hear? ‘Non , No, Nunca, Nyet?’ Ummmm, as I suspected.The ways of the selectively outraged!
    That’s it folks!As President of the T&T Progressive Union Initiative, I hereby request that Swordfish progressive card ,be taken away, and that he be stripped of all acquired awards. All in favor, say I!
    No Royal Trini, both you, Mayayo rum drinker in Chief Mamboo, and the sly fork tongue Trini Canadian , Euro wwnnabe T-Man ,still ain’t qualify.Just kidding guys!

    1. At last there is another person who has recognizes who Nelson really is. A Dawg for what he did to Winnie.

  4. Right on Neal. Convenient echoes of empathetic understandings from those eyes get fiery and their mouths call for blood when the prodigal, the offender, comes from a different mix. But your Mandela reference is instructive, and I share your sentiments about the entire Winnie Fiasco.

    What makes how she was treated even more ghastly, is the fact that DeKlerk whose hands were stained with the blood of black youth, who presided over the torture of these youth and other war crimes, was not only forgiven, but received the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Nelson. So in effect, Nelson found that preferable to defending a Woman who kept the struggle alive, who faced down the racist monsters and their lackeys, who was an inspiration to the youth. Talk about an injustice!

  5. Politics have a morality of its own said the man who was supposed to make a jail but instead got a free pass to a key World Cup soccer match. So who the hell is Ram now? Ram was like a modern day Robin Hood who used our tax monies to patch a hole left by the unserving government. You will recall for instance the fantastic solutions to prevent flooding in our beloved country that were just simply lies. So there came the hamper giveaways to we own UNC folks. Now and then they will give to the other poor folk to paint a story for the goodly Minister. He was doing a job my seven year old granddaughter could have easily done.

  6. Thanks Brother R Paton. Mind you ,it’s not understand, why he felt the need initially ,to distance himself from her-political expediency and such, being the case, due to her demonization.
    There is a one time Chitown , political activist , sitting in the White house , whose name is Barrack Hussain Obama. Well , he personally drove the bus , to run over the head Black Liberation Theology , top guru, Rev Wright.This of course , is a man ,who was a close mentor of Barack, when he was then ,” a young , skinny, ethnically confuse,girlfriendless/pre Michelle Robinson,kid from Hawaii.
    We understand why during his reign , thus far,he treats Africa ,as the nation of Leapers, favoring suddenly resource rich Ghana , over his own , lifetime absentee ,papa , tribal homeland , Kenya.
    Still , according to the thinking of frustrated, Dr Cornel West, and Travis Smiley, it’s no excuse ,for a man , post racial or not, to ride the shirt tails of Afro Liberators , and yet to date, not produce a, ‘Black agenda,’but will indulge in continued efforts , to make Israel, and Europe , the 51, and 52 States of the USA.
    Lets leave the domestic , and international,corporate thugs, and that Military Industrial Complex for the moment.
    These self serving , neo imperial, socially comatose, Global African elites! !
    Enough of them, now on to T&T, mi amigo! HMMMM…

    To point fingers across the isles , of our brothers and sisters , we should not be afraid to Likewise, throw a pebble or two ,to disturb that carefully made up image, of those ,that on the surface, appears to look more like us.
    Translation,, even heroes ,are fair game.
    Luv Humanity folks!

  7. I garner a large amount of information from Raffique Shah’s editorials.My position sought that the Minister be “disciplined” rather than his dismissal.The general consensus of the contributors to this article:”the night of the long knives” are diametrically opposed.

    Stay on topic:Nelson Mandela (God bless!)was mentioned merely to illustrate the enormity of “forgiveness” etc.How relevant is the dismissal of Glenn Ramadharsingh and the President of the USA..and the “will and final testament of Madiba? Please elucidate………

  8. Ain’t this something guys, T&T, ain’t have no Coca plantations , like they do in South America, and yet Americans – not T&T Airport, and customs officials-are catching our citizens, daily, trying to smuggle deadly drugs into their country.
    Now mind you, don’t expect, the Swordfish of the world , to denounce their lifetime hero , Basdeo Panday, for his it role , along with UNC high end financial bandits, Ish , and Steve, re that infamous ,airport theft scandal. Our borders ,remain porous , and so a magnate for drug traffickers , and illegals , yet no heat from Swordfish , and other neo tribal thinkers , re the cancellation , of Coast guard ships ,by his clueless leaders , which could have help curb the problem.
    He somehow seem to have a hard on for Madiba however. It figures!
    Hey Swordfish, like you , I too might think, Nelson, or even your idol Mahatma Gandhi,were both great men in their own rights.One for forgiving his White ,evil, genocidal , Apartheid enemies , the other ,for seeking peaceful, none violent changes, against Britain.
    You with that example of Mandela ,might wish ” to demonstrate the enormity of forgiveness,” but I in contrast , to expose the enormity of hypocrisy.

    As for Barrack Obama , there are likewise racist bums, who would demand that Afro Americans, should quit whining, about inequalities, injustices , and other cases of neglects to their community, since all is fine in America, because White folks , decided to vote for a Black, or is it Mullato /bi-racial President, whose policies , are identical to that of the 40 plus ,that proceeded him?
    All I wanted to say is , don’t start singing Kumbaya, until equal playing field justice exist for all Americans .
    This begins with him, not only legalizing marijuana,and promoting his gay rights, but also introducing a ‘Black Agenda Policy,’ to help folks ,who look more like his Mandingo wife Michelle , and late African Kenyan father, Barrack Snr.
    For the record Swordfish,we know why folks like yourself ,really love your Madiba, but will view a IDI Amin, Post independent Sri Lankan Senalese leaders, or Fijian indigenous pro military revolutionaries , as the epitome of evil.
    Speaking of Gandhi, in the run up to India’s independence struggles ,millions of Low Caste /Untouchables gave their support in the hope , that they would escape this religious trap , well we knew what resulted , once freedoms came, huh? Abandonment by the neo imperial elites , drunk with power.
    Your hero Gandhi , bears some responsibility, just like Madeba in SA,for the precarious state , of their respective- used and discarded -people.
    I feel obligated to do what I can ,to ensure that similar fall outs -as took place in Uganda,Sri Lanka, and Fiji-don’t occur in places where members of ‘Brown triumphalist Nation ,’are still finding it difficult to coexist , with others ,they still believe are their inferiors.
    Translation :-
    If a fake Bramin like Pundit Shama, could treat one of his delicate , fellow , Untouchables , with such utter contempt, care to guess Swordfish, as to how he really thinks about members of ‘Kinky Head Nation,’ many of which ensured his party won the last election?
    The real question Swordfish is , not if any of these global icons and trailblazers,dwserves blind praise, but whether women, and children in T&T,would be in a better position socially, at the end of Queen Kamla’s reign, than they were before she assumed power?Is she a sectarian tribalist like her mentor Basdeo, or that divisive , hatemonger , and yes,Spiritual Adviser Sat?

  9. Conclusion, you are wise, and the rest of us peons ,ignorant-all because we do not believe that a your PM Kamla, hand pick member, of the tribal party, should be forgiven , for his crime , ,when others, in our society, aren’t so fortunate, eeehh Swordfish?
    Ok Swordfish-‘let sleeping dogs lie.’We will therefore agree ,to leave this piece of escapist foolishness alone, as it a serves no useful purpose.
    I for one ,only care about the people of my country ,as a whole, not the stupid boorish activities , by a single tribe , hell bent, on destroying our Twin Island Republic -if allowed.
    We have a poxy face ,almost chubby chick, skilled at photo shopping pictures ,to make her appear as some elite Bollywood queen.
    We have this Hindu Pundit , with the appearance of a New York -West Village ,fruit cake, masquerading ,as some big time sex player , yet, with limited knowledge, as to how to work his game, as such ,he instead comes across , more live a pervert, who pimps his power to the highest bidder.
    Since the Kamla’s PP regime , burst on the scene, we unfortunately have, questionable government contracts, going out, left, right, and center, but only to certain folks, with a very common history-one of which was ,to this chick.
    Now instead of focusing on pertinent issues of the day, here we are on social media, arguing over nonsense.
    I agree Swordfish,enough with what my late , extremely wise Tobago Granny would call,’De Ignaramous Behavior,’si?

  10. December 25, 2013.
    What’s on my mind? Winnie Mandela. Anybody heard of Winnie Mandela? What did you hear?

    Is she not the person who caused me and everybody else, to know about Nelson Mandela and then ask: “Who is this Nelson Who?

    Was she not the brave wife who was shouting to the World: “MURDER!! EVERYBODY!! THEY MIGHT KILL MY HUSBAND IN PRISON!! He might disappear like a magic trick!

    Brave BECAUSE she herself could have been killed for raising that annoying alarm?

    How long did she keep up her charade, bawlings and beggings to the World: “HELP HELP!!! OH GOD HELP!!? One Month, six Months, two years, ten years, 27 years?

    Was there not a time when all we were hearing in the World news was: “WINNIE MANDELA; WINNIE MANDELA; and WINNIE MANDELA? How many wives would have done that? How many wives would have ran in a corner trembling and hide, serve him with divorce papers and so that they could mate with someone else?

    “How she could love this man so?” Some were sure to ask.

    Would not all men WISH for a wife like that especially since she was or is STILL pretty!?

    So what happened AFTER she saved his life for 27 years and he came out from prison? Was she acknowledged as THE HERO? YES HERO NOT HEROINE.

    Who became the President. The person who kept Nelson alive for 27 years or the person who was kept alive because or Winnie’s thumping and stamping around the World for the said 27 years?

    Did Winnie become at LEAST the wife of the President in gratitude for her tireless show of love and dedication?

    If Winnie has to do it over again, if that was possible now she has seen the future, do you think she would do it again? Do what again? Show love for a creature in prison for 27 years? What about one day? Or kick him to the curb?

    Suppose she had a relationship with someone else part of the time he was in prison could he not have forgiven her just like he did the Whites in his forgiveness sermons to the World?
    But wait!?
    If she was in prison instead WOULD HE HAVE REMAINED WOMANLESS FOR 27 YEARS? Would he have fought for her the way she had fought for him seeing that she did not enjoy in the forgiveness storm? If she did anything while ANC leader, was it worst than what the White oppressive apartheid regime got the necessary forgiveness for in forgiveness season?

    By the way, was she ever in prison when he became President, where he would have had an opportunity, to fight for her as she did for him and with his forgiveness weapon? If so did he abandon her then?

    So what happened to Winnie? Did she become Persona non Grata? Was she covered down, muffled, and made to look like the biggest scoundrel the World has ever seen?
    Was she prevented from now bawling: “INGRATITUDE! INHUMANE! DIRTY. OH GOD MURDER?

    All the time is “Winnie Mandela’ and as soon as Nelson comes out is only Nelson you’re hearing about.
    Nelson indeed was a great man. Abandoning Winnie would not take away from his greatness but would make Winnie ten times greater!!!!!!! ? TRIPLE GOLD STARS TO YOU. AND “HIP HIP HIP. HURRAH!!

    Winnie you should have married me.

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